With the Chicago Bulls in position to earn another high draft pick, Dayton forward Obi Toppin is a guy that deserves serious consideration.
Perhaps no college player did more for his draft stock during the 2019-20 season than University of Dayton superstar forward Obi Toppin.
Toppin had a nice freshman season for the Flyers in 2018-19, but it was his sophomore season that put him on the national radar. He averaged a nasty 20 points per game on .633/.390/.702 shooting splits to go along with 7.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists.
At six-foot-9 and loaded with elite athleticism and above-average shooting ability, Toppin is the perfect stretch four for the modern NBA and even has the potential to play some small-ball five.
The Bulls have spent two of their last three lottery picks on frontcourt players (Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr.), so adding another big body may seem redundant. But this summer, we’ll have three years of the Lauri Markkanen experience under our belts, and it hasn’t been overly promising.
Markkanen is yet to play over 68 games in a season (68 his rookie year, 52 his second year, and 50 this year — assuming this season is over), and even when he has been healthy, he hasn’t looked like the guy the Bulls need him to be.
After a rookie season that blew previous expectations out of the water, it’s been mostly downhill for Markkanen. He was fine during his second season, but health was a huge problem. His third season has been nothing but utterly disappointing. He hasn’t been nearly as aggressive as he needs to be on offense and his defense is still far from where it needs to be.
With all that being said, it might be time to look at another young forward in the draft. Toppin would fit in perfectly with the Bulls. He could be the second option Zach LaVine so desperately needs.
Toppin’s ability to make plays off the bounce would help the Bulls’ dreary offense mightily, but he’s also not a guy who needs to have the ball in his hands in order to be impactful on offense. He’s brilliant at positioning himself for cuts to the hoop that set up rim-rattling alley-oops, and he’s also a bruiser on the offensive glass.
Two years ago, I would’ve never thought the Bulls would be needing to look at power forwards in the draft lottery. Lauri seemed like he was going to be the guy. But now, I’m much more optimistic about Toppin’s NBA career than Markkanen’s.
The Bulls will likely have to have some draft lottery luck in order to have a shot at Toppin. He’s a near-guaranteed lottery pick and a probable top-5 pick.
He’s nowhere near a cant-miss talent like Zion Williamson, but if Obi Toppin is available when the Bulls are on the clock, he should be a guy Chicago takes a long, hard look at.